Alexis de Tocqueville, the Frenchman who visited America for nine months and chronicled his journey in “Democracy in America,” understood our nation with more clarity and depth than we understand ourselves today.

Tocqueville predicted that tyranny of the majority would someday pose a real threat to Americans’ freedom. Heritage expert Arthur Milikh explains why Tocqueville’s prediction is true to our modern world:

Despots of the past tyrannized through blood and iron. But the new breed of democratic despotism “does not proceed in this way; it leaves the body and goes straight for the soul.”

That is, the majority reaches into citizens’ minds and hearts. It breaks citizens’ will to resist, to question its authority, and to think for themselves. The majority’s moral power makes individuals internally ashamed to contradict it, which in effect silences them, and this silencing culminates in a cessation of thinking. We see this happen almost daily: to stand against the majority is to ruin yourself.

We need to take Tocqueville’s warnings seriously. America requires statesmanship and intelligent guidance to fight off any threat that diminishes our freedom.

Do you think individuals’ voices have been weakened and isolated by despotic majorities?

Comments (41)

Sherena Arrington - August 10, 2015

Yes, de Tocqueville was correct. The Founders tried to prevent tyrannical majorities through federalism and through the checks and balances set up in our system. However, with the erosion of federalism and with courts which no longer respect natural law or the principles of federalism, there is little to stand between unbridled passions of tyrannical majorities and everyone else.

Doris Coash - August 14, 2015

YES, I AM FOR ANYTHING THAT MAKES A NATION A BETTER PLACE!!!! ESPECIALLY CHRISTIAN VALUES!!!!! PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

Doris Coash - August 14, 2015

Yes, I am anything that makes this Nation a better place. ESPECIALLY CHRISTIAN VALUES. PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN IF YOU CAN!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

Chan Bailey - August 14, 2015

I do not believe in the tyranny of the majority. I believe in tyranny of a few, allowed by the inaction of the majority. That is why the Heritage Foundation is a group I support. If we are successful in educating the majority they will not allow a tyranny of the few to continue.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. That’s why we are doing something.

Ronald Mabe - August 14, 2015

It ceases to amazes me of how our Constitution is disregarded in the decisions concerning our rights of speech, guns, religion and freedom of choice. We as individuals can vote in our states as to what we want our communities, state and nation to represent, to display, to honor and uphold.A minute segment can demand that all of the majority give up their Constitutional rights, so they ,the minority, can walk all over others. I earned my rights, did they?

teresa nazareth - August 14, 2015

ENCOURAGEMENT BY GOVT. OF DEPENDENCY INSTEAD OF PROMOTING INDEPENDANCE PRIDE & PURPOSE BY THE PEOPLE TO GAIN KNOWLEDGE TO BE INDEPENDANT. THIS DELIBERATE WEAKENING THROUGH ENCOURAGEMENT OF LAZINESS IS RUINING SOCIETY.

Woodie McCarty - August 14, 2015

Yes, I think individuals’ voices have been weakened and isolated by despotic majorities.

Steve Cooper - August 14, 2015

Why has the major media outlets in this country taken such a strong turn to the left in past years? Growing up in the sixties, most outlets took a dim view of protests and leftist/socialist dicta coming from the college campuses. In the 80’s, we saw a shift in the direction of the media, and it has accelerated on a downhill skid right into the gutter we find it today. Would it be possible to turn this trend around, to get the news back onto a middle ground? What will it take to do this and convince people about this tragedy that has befallen the American “free press”?

Jo Humber - August 14, 2015

The government has become too powerful, and the average citizen has lost the freedoms that the Constitution provided.

Helen Durant - August 14, 2015

yes

Frank Santini - August 14, 2015

The Constitution has specific language on how to deal with Tyranny when the government no longer has 3 separate and equal branches.
Without checks and balances, it will only be a matter of time when the true Patriots of the Republic will stand up and remove the Traitors who are literally sitting on their rear-ends destroying our Country and Robbing us of our Liberties.
I only hope we will reverse the current path we are on before it is to late.

Richard Robinson - August 14, 2015

There is a biblical principle in Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man is a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” When we consider doing what we think is right, which we think will please God, we may fear what man will think about us doing that, we may fear what they will say about it, and we may fear what they will do to us.
This is now called political correctness, and is a demonic form of manipulation.

Wayne B. Shepherd - August 14, 2015

political correctness is an effort to suppress free speech.

Jerry Metcalf - August 14, 2015

We need to educate the voters. They must wake up or we are lost.

Michael Bullock - August 14, 2015

I know otherwise intelligent people that accept anyting the government says as true. It is easier to go along than it is to think things through.

Martha Perry - August 14, 2015

YES.

James E Bailey - August 14, 2015

Not this individual. It has made me, and many other TRUE patriots, more verbal and active against, Obama and his ilk, the liberals and their agendas.

Gerry Tischler - August 14, 2015

Yes, I think conservative individuals are afraid to speak up for fear of reprisals. Look what happens to conservatives in the House of Representatives when they speak up against Boehner and the RINOS. And McCain and others go after the Senators who try to keep their campaign promises to us.

Fredrick Yerrick - August 14, 2015

Yes as the Political Correctness crowd and media are crushing Freedom of Speech!

Bill Coates - August 14, 2015

I think despotic MINORITIES are the root of our difficulties. The divisive tactics of Democrats in creating and fueling enraged minority groups (LGBT, blacks, La Raza, Islam, atheists, etc.) will bring violence, Their demands are constantly being escalated far beyond reason.They focus on power-seeking, and their only moral principle is that those who oppose them must be evil and must surrender or be destroyed. Democrats try to weld all these groups together to inhibit the relatively-silent majority by pretending to be the real majority, when they are only the noisiest collection of special interests

James Johanson - August 14, 2015

With the understanding that the founders essentially followed Judeo/Christian principles for a moral guideline when forming our country the basic problem for our souls in this great nation is that we are collectively abandoning those principles. When our souls are not guided by a majority that follow Judeo/Christian principles we become easy prey for this “new breed of democratic despotism”. Far to many of our synagogues and churches are theselves straying from the very teachings in the Holy Scripture to appease membership instead of teaching moral purity of God.

Edna Schaaf - August 14, 2015

Indeed it has! Today what was once wrong is now right! Mind control is an awful tactic they use,but it won’t work with me! God has control of my life!

Scarlett Anderson - August 14, 2015

I think a lot of people are afraid to speak up especially in liberal states. I think that some may be so dependent on the government, they fear they will not be able to afford to live if the government takes away their free homes, money, cell phones, ect. They are willing to cave to freedoms in order to continue to live the lifestyle they live on the backs of hard working people.

Janet - August 14, 2015

I think people with conservative values are still a majority. Our voices have been weakened because we felt isolated and believed the lie that we are a minority. We have been silenced not by a despotic majority but by a despotic minority. But we are waking up to the truth.

stephen palmer - August 14, 2015

Well we can forget statesmanship and intelligent guidance right off the the top. I have to disagree with you about the majorities. I still believe there are enough good people here in America to weather this storm. I just think that the people are not fighting a majority, but are being bullied by loud mouth minorities and one of these days they will have had enough, and by the way most Patriots that I talk to believe the same thing..

Herb - August 14, 2015

The commies in this country have no idea what the conservative majority has in mind for them. We are going to purge this country of all who oppose the Constitution. We are coming and Hell is coming with us.

Barbara Sbrogna - August 15, 2015

I was blown away the first time I read Tocqueville over thirty years ago and even then could easily see how the tyranny of the majority could happen. But I never expected that establishment Republicans (who lie about being “conservative”) would join the Left in helping it along!

At the moment, there are less than a dozen true statesmen in office and they are trashed by their own party members.
It is terribly depressing!

Dorothy Anne Smith - August 15, 2015

Since the founding Fathers required that the Bible, Lord’s Prayer, and Ten Commandments be taught in all schools ( because Christianity was and is necessary to make the Constitution and Freedom from tyranny work ) Heritage and it’s members must reestablish those three entities back into America’s public schools — even if it means our US Congress has to empeach some US Supreme Court Justices for treason and tyranny against America.

Paula - August 15, 2015

Yes, they are. It’s happening now in America. I learned about the tyranny of the majority while taking their two free Constitution classes online at Hillsdale College website.

Gary Fuderer - August 15, 2015

I believe majorities are not involved in applying the pressure on our society to day. Only 3% of the population as some kind of gay affiliation but look what has done to morality of this nation. We are being controlled by a well placed minority.

Harold V. Miller - August 15, 2015

Our young people are being brainwashed in schools & universities until they have lost their ability to think for themselves.

Henry C. Holder - August 15, 2015

Yes, it is very prevalent in the Democratic narrative of the way they think we should live our lives; only freedom being what the Democrats prescribe.

Mitchel Fritschle - August 15, 2015

Yes, our schools start the process.

Retta - August 16, 2015

Absolutely!

John T. Jones - August 17, 2015

Yes absolutely, freedom is being handcuffed and silenced in the name of political correctness under the guise of not hurting anyone’s feelings.
Our freedom is being steamrolled, speech, religion, arms and many more are gone if any person (especially if they are from a “protected” citizen class) is offended in any way… Is that what “freedom” is about? We are supposed to be a national of one people and NOT hyphenated Americans who no longer agree on what “freedom” means…

Earl F. Hawkins - August 17, 2015

Absolutely!!

Renee Szabo - August 17, 2015

Yes.

Martha Webber - August 19, 2015

Unfortunately the majority of Americans choose to remain uninformed, thus enabling self interest groups (with deep pockets) to rule the day.

Donald Crawford - August 20, 2015

The Founders did not want a minority or a majority factions to control the people. Sherena is correct and that why the Federalists papers were written for a Constitution with three separate branches of the Executive, Legislative (Congress), and the Supreme Court. This the basis of Federalism which there are the checks and balances of a Government “of the people, for the people, and by the people” The Heritage Foundation with heritage Action works tirelessly to advocate, train interns, and Sentinel’s to get intel to restore a government of, by. and for the people to continue fight against a progressive mindset in America!

Tom Funicello - August 23, 2015

The Constitution never envisioned “professional politician” as a career. The pols in D.C. only care about ONE thing, getting re-elected. We need term limits. This will eliminate the back room deals with the lobbyists & return gov. Back to the people who go to DC for 4 or 8 years, serve their country, then return home to their lives. THIS was the true intent of the Constitution. God bless our troops & God bless America.

Diane S Woodard - August 27, 2015

I agree with every responseheretofore as each response mirors my thinking. Each of them must be very conservative as am I.

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